Many were shocked to learn that Joel Castillo, a close friend and associate, has been diagnosed with leukemia, a type of cancer which affects the blood. A resident of Sto. Tomas, Zambales, he is in need of Ab+ blood for his coming bone marrow operation. Having lost his good health for several months now, he remains hopeful and looks forward to reclaiming his good health by God’s grace.
The value of anything we own or enjoy in life becomes more pronounced not just when we lose it but when we realize we can still function without it and have the greater opportunity to see the loss as a bridge toward a new and more exciting avenue we have never walked before. Blind people are known to compensate their lack of vision by their acuity in other senses, such as touch, hearing and smelling. Hence, many of them learn to become good masseurs, singers and musicians.
In others, the loss may be temporary as in the case of an athlete who fails so many times but uses those failures – no , those moments of intense training – to gain greater self-confidence and the added ability to finally gain the gold medal.
Health is one aspect of human life that causes us so much anxiety and concern, in most cases. Losing the ability to live life to the fullest because of illness can bring many of us into fits of despair and helplessness – even hopelessness, at times. Yet, many have accepted the reality of such moments as gifts for attaining personal growth and greater commitment to our Giver of Life. Hence, people with various physiological challenges form groups or clubs to raise awareness for their ailments and raise funds for the care of people with the same conditions.
Today, one of the best spokespersons for Parkinson’s Disease is the Hollywood actor, Michael J. Fox, himself a victim for many years now. Since he acquired the illness, he was ceased making movies and uses much of his time speaking in favour of people who have it and for raising awareness of the needs of such patients. Like many who suffer from physical challenges, Michael waits for the time he can have a second chance to bring his past “back to the future”, so to speak.
Second chances are not limited to having only one single choice but many at times. We have had friends who shifted to many courses in college until they finally finished one even after many years. Or friends who changed jobs until they came upon what they really loved doing, being an artist, a farmer or a photographer.
For Joel Castillo, his choice at the moment is simply to go back to doing what he loves doing, which is to be with his family and friends reaching out to the less fortunate in his community and other neighboring communities in Zambales (http://isabelitarosueta.org/) (Please see the video that Joel helped produce for APO at this link. — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZYSBdz31gPA) Joel has Acute Myeloid Leukemia and is now in the process of undergoing a bone marrow operation.
In his own words, he expresses that second chance he would love to have to continue walking the path of meaningful service to others together with his loved ones and close friends:
Life is so short ‘ika nga! So I will take the opportunity to share one of the good community services and last few activities I was able to participate in before I found out I had Acute Myeloid Leukemia. We tried so hard to finish the video, and at last here it is. Hopefully in the future, I will be able to come, see and join you Bros and Sis on our other projects in the FUTURE. So please help me… I might not be able to climb the hills yet, or walk on couple of rivers just to get to our destination, for sure I will be there! It runs in my blood, same as yours… May we always be!
One can only imagine the pain and anxiety Joel feels going through life at this stage. But he is fully aware of what hope and prayers can do to anyone who has enough faith to take as much from life as possible and to give back to others as much as possible in return, no matter what the conditions are. His many second chances include not merely continuing the good work he has done for the community but also his God-given role as a husband, father and brother to his extended family relations. And to be the generous and adventurous friend he is to his fraternity mates at Alpha Phi Omega. And add to that still his other prime role as partner-in-business, not only in life, his diligent and caring wife of many years.
Joel’s vision of a better life for others remains even if his condition is not something anyone would want to have. He needs our prayers and our help to recover his health and to take hold of whatever second chances he can catch in the future. His wife, his relatives and his friends have started a Leukemia awareness campaign as well as a fundraising campaign to raise financial assistance (https://www.facebook.com/pages/APO-Shirts-for-Bro-Joel-Castillo/685847278129933) for Joel’s bone marrow/stem cell transplant (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acute_myeloid_leukemia) operation. He also needs Ab+ blood for his blood transfusions, not to mention your prayers for his full recovery.
We appeal then on behalf of Joel Castillo: Please donate blood. Be a hero and save a life.
Giving something could be your opportunity to give someone that much needed second chance. It is one concrete way to let love, faith and hope reign in our lives.